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Pardee recognizes philanthropist of the year

Myra Grant (left) looks on as Dr. Phillip Sellers presents award to Eleanora Meloun. Myra Grant (left) looks on as Dr. Phillip Sellers presents award to Eleanora Meloun.

Eleanora Meloun, a longtime supporter of health care and organizations that help youth, was recognized Saturday by the Pardee Hospital Foundation as the Health Care Philanthropist of the year.

More than 250 donors, Pardee physicians, employees and other supporters turned out for the foundation's annual donor appreciation event, which also honored the foundation's longtime executive director, Myra Grant, who is retiring this month. The hospital announced that it had contributed $16,000 to the Myra Grant Endowment.
Mrs. Meloun came to Hendersonville in the 1950s with her husband, Chuck, when he was an executive with General Electric. They were later transferred to Pennsylvania and Chicago but returned to their Hendersonville home for good.
"I am stunned. I am in complete shock," Mrs. Meloun said when she was called up to accept the award from Dr. Phillip Sellers. She noted that she had told Dr. Sellers that he could not retire before she died but he did anyway. "I think I was too much for him."
A longtime auxiliary volunteer, she recalled working in the kitchen during the 1960s. She said back then she knew most of the doctors and staff. "Now it has grown so large," she said. "I see all these doctors, and we're lucky to have them and we're lucky to have Pardee. I thank you all very much."
Dr. Sellers described Mrs. Meloun as a person who does not seek the limelight. Behind the scenes, though, she works. "She is also very persistent when she makes up her mind to do something," he said. "In fact, she may get a little stubborn. She also is a smiling, gracious lady."
Also honored during the evening at Champion Hills Country Club was Grant, whom foundation organizers hired as the first executive director.
"Before Myra Grant, our foundation had not raised a single dollar," said Pardee CEO Jay Kirby. "Sixteen years later, she stands here tonight having raised $28 million, and the contributions she's made to Pardee and the community will go on for years and years."
Grant recalled interviewing for the job as the first executive director of the foundation. She thanked the founders, Don Holder, Mary Ruth Smith, Bill Altman, Sam McGuirt, Don Godehn, Carlton Sears and Marcia Caserio, and general counsel Scott Lebensburger, for having the vision to recognize that Pardee would need capital expansions and equipment that patient revenue could not meet.
"My challenge to you is to support the staff and their work, to choose Pardee for your health care, and to give when they call and ask," she said.
In retirement, Grant said she will work in fundraising for Western Carolina University, have some fun and get "lots of sleep" because "I won't have to get up at 6 a.m. to find a parking space."